Were firing arcs ever in the running as a design choice? Perhaps as an optional way to decrease cost/weight or increase power?
In a fluid and freewheeling combat game such as this one, I think that the addition of limited firing arcs for guns is a slippery slope to contemplate. If used on a limited basis for certain highly specialized turrets to be added later, it might work. I would hate to see the feature used more than sparingly. Just about the only sort of weapon I’d be willing to see it featured for (at present) would be massive spinal-mount megaweapons that have little or no independent aiming short of steering the entire ship.
In a turn-based or slow realtime tactical game I could see restricted turret arcs being fun. They’re fun in Star Fleet Command, but that game is about commanding one ship in all its detail.
Don’t I know it, my friend. I played its tabletop predecessor - Star Fleet Battles - for a long time.That game was the Olympian pinnacle of single-ship space combat on paper. Amazing that it’s still going forward decades later…likewise a shame that SFB always tended to choke upon its own mundane record-keeping and potential “option paralysis” at every turn; a major reason I left once pc gaming became sufficiently advanced.
Sometimes I regard GSB as the long-delayed antidote to all of that scribbling upon reams and reams of Energy Allocation forms and moving those !$%*# slippery cardboard counters on the hexmap. The computer version of SFB (Starfleet Command) was like coming out of a jailcell into the sweet, sweet, paper-free sunlight again!
Before the beta there was some discussion on clifski’s blog. The issue was first raised in the comments following a post on July 21. In his next post, clifski said it would require too much AI programming to get the ships to behave intelligently.
I think there might be room for weapon modules that fit into special “Fixed Mount” slots on some hulls. They would only be able to fire in a straight line (or perhaps a narrow arc) in the direction of the ship’s path. The game Light of Altair (which I bought from the Positech Games store!) had this sort of weapon, in addition to turrets. Replacing some of the current weapons with straight firing versions might have some other interesting effects, such as fighters that dogfight and strafe more like real world aircraft. (Bombers would still want turrets that can shoot back at intercepting fighters while they remain on course for their torpedo run.) The mix of forward firing and turreted weapons would also be another dimension to differentiate ship hulls along.
Obviously the AI would need updates to handle target selection for weapons that can only fire in a limited arc. I can only hope that limiting the possibilities to turrets and forward firing weapons (rather than allowing many separate arcs in different directions) will make the decision space manageable for the AI, and that clifski will have enough time between fixing crash bugs to revisit his decision.
Well in Empire: Total War naval ships had a limited firing arc and it was iffy at best, but they didn’t implement it too well. GSB feels like it was intended as a casual game, not a hardcore strategy so I think that the idea of limited firing arcs for all weapons isn’t a good idea.
A good middle ground is let cruisers have what is called a heavy weapons slot, where it basically is a weapons slot but when a weapon is put on it that weapon has a multiplier of 1.5 added to the range, damage, and reload time. Say you get a Laser that does 10 damage at 200 range with 500 firing interval, when it’s equipped on a heavy weapons slot it does 15 damage at 300 range with a 750 firing interval. Possibly make this heavy weapon slot only fire in 120 degrees in front of the ship maybe, but this is just an idea.
It’s an interesting idea, but unless there’s a need for it, I’d recommend against it. It’s a limitation that adds complexity (both in ship design and in AI programming). If it was used as a balance for a powerful weapon, I could understand, but otherwise it doesn’t add any real benefit for the player.
Thanks! I can see where clifski is coming from. It’s easy to want these complicated things, but I certainly see the value in simplicity with this title. Still, it would be so cool to have a reward for lighter, faster ships to circle around behind the less mobile behemoths.
There’s still a lot of opportunity for this. It’s common in military games for a unit to have more armor up front, less behind. Perhaps this same thing could be done, giving an advantage for ships that can flank. Of course, without the ability to control your units, you’d also need some kind of AI order to say the ship should try to flank.
Even without adding directional armor and damage, flanking would be useful in the game as-is. Often the front-line ships are simply more heavily armored and shielded, while the second line has more weapons at the expense of defense. Being able to order a flank attack on the plasma boats in the back ranks would probably be pretty effective.